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Updated: March 21, 2012 20:44 IST

Montek in eye of storm over Plan panel’s poverty estimates

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Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was in the eye of a storm in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday over the fresh poverty estimates pegging poverty line at Rs. 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities. File photo
The Hindu
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was in the eye of a storm in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday over the fresh poverty estimates pegging poverty line at Rs. 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities. File photo

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was in the eye of a storm in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday over the fresh poverty estimates pegging poverty line at Rs. 28.65 per capita daily consumption in cities.

“Ahluwalia is away from ground realities. He needs to be removed as every time he speaks, things go wrong. He has never spoken a good thing. No one is agreeing with the latest data,” NDA convenor and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav said in an impromptu discussion.

“Shoot the poor...give them poison...if you want to end poverty like this,” he said.

Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj targeted the government over this issue noting that it was wrong to blame the Plan panel as the Prime Minister himself headed the body.

Asserting that responsibility lay with the government and not the Planning Commission, she appealed to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who was present in the House, to reject the latest estimates.

Regretting that poverty was not coming down, she alleged that efforts were on to wipe out the poor and not poverty.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav said people sitting in air-conditioned rooms were blurting out figures when the reality was that 65 per cent of the population was below poverty line without proper electricity and potable water.

Accusing the plan panel of betraying the country, he said one cannot have even proper snacks for Rs 32 and the Planning Commission wanted people to live in that amount.

V Arun Kumar (Cong) alleged that opposition members were trying to mislead Parliament as the Plan panel has told the Supreme Court that the figures were per capita and not for the whole family. The per family figures are Rs 4,824 for the urban areas and Rs 3,905 for rural areas a month.

Mr. T.R. Baalu (DMK) regretted that the criteria of deciding poverty line has not been fixed so far which was creating problems for state governments in implementing welfare schemes.

“Let the Planning Commission show its inputs to a Parliamentary Committee so that a proper criteria for the BPL could be fixed”, he said.

Mr. Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) said that no prudent person could come to the conclusion on the poverty estimates and the whole issue should be reconsidered by the Planning Commission.

He wanted chief ministers of all states should be consulted while deciding price indices.

Mr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (RJD) justified members’ anger over the issue while Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) said it was a mockery of the poor. He said the House should pass a resolution expressing disagreement over the Plan panel data.

Mr. M. Thambidurai (AIADMK) said it was time the Planning Commission realised the true gravity of poverty, while Prabodh Panda (CPI) said the proposal was condemnable and the Prime Minister should make a statement in the House.

Mr. B. Mahtab (BJD) alleged that the Planning Commission was confusing the whole country as a good lawyer who confuses the court when his case is weak.

Mr. Baliram (BSP) took a dig at the Commission and said with the latest figures India can now show to the world that there are no poor in the country.

Mr. Basudeb Acharia (CPI(M)) alleged that the Plan panel used “fraudulent methods” to arrive at the latest figures and said with 8 per cent inflation, none can survive at Rs 22 a day.

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poverty from india cannot be reduced by reducing the no. of can be said that it is just to console those officers and legislative bodies the planning commission has fixed such a criteria to select the BPL.for a normal people the price of a cup of tea is Rs.5/-per this way in Rs.30/- he/she can afford 6 cup of it possible for a poor to live with 6/- cup of tea in a month.

from:  manaswini panigrahi
Posted on: Mar 26, 2012 at 16:17 IST

Poverty in India cannot be wiped out until unless the ministers come out of their dreamy palaces and cozy offices to grab the source of poverty.It is said that India resides in the villages .but the condition of numerous villages are the same as before .Of course steps are being taken to shun the poverty but schemes made for beneficiaries are not made available.The fresh estimate of Rs28.65 per head a day shows that Mr Ahuliwaliya is very far away from the reality and plight of the people .By deciding this much amount he is washing his hands from the responsibility and trying to make the country so called poverty free .

from:  Sohrab Alam
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 19:52 IST

Making the five yer plans alone cannot develop the country by reducing
the poverty things should be done practically not theoreticaly.the other
five year plans had good infrastructure but nothing has happened the
poor remain poor and the rich grows to higher status.A five year plan is
just a document showing plans and strategies for the next five year,the
it does'nt reflect any devp because it is useless unlrss necesary
actions are taken.the events going to occur in the next five year will
not be accord to the FYP's.

Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 18:13 IST

It happens only in India! When prices of alomost all the commodities are heading towards north, the threshold limit for BPL is being pushed further south. Is economics or for that matter policy formulation is beyond common sense? How on earth people are expected to accept that a person can maitain life at less then Rs.30/- a day when one would not get a proper meal with that sum, keep aside other needs of life. That is why probably 42 percent children of the country are malnurished. A serious retrospective is perhaps the need of the hour.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:58 IST

These are absurd figures. Who can survive on Rs.30(even on the higher side) per day. Let Mr. Ahluwalia try it for a day. People sitting in luxury cars and houses make wrong estimates and fool the public

from:  parthasarathy
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:48 IST

It shame for the Govt. to eliminate poverty in this way rather than finding out the real solution. Every time it is like this, planning commission will come out with a number which is unimaginable then when opposed the number would increase by Rs. 5. One realistic solution to this issue ask the planning commission to step onto fields, interact with the poor people understand their basic amenities estimate a cost for that and come with a number.

from:  Mohammed Nooman
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:35 IST

Even in the days of Indira Gandhi's 'Garibhi Hatao', such a preposterous estimate of 'poverty line' would not have been made,as the present one.Instead of such pretentions, the Government of the day can, in one stroke, do away with all government sponsored schemes aimed at helping the poor of the country, and declare that Indira Gandhi's dream has been realised!

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:35 IST

Ture indeed, the committee members of the Planning commission are far away from the reality. The matter has become a subject for laugh even for the poorest of the poors and the way these figures are blatantly being put forward, the credibility of the state of India is at stake.

from:  Abhijit
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:29 IST

So how the Plan panel is defining a familly? is it 3 or 4 or 5 members?
With Rs 4,824 a family of 3 members will have a tough time in any urban area.
IF we work it out it will be 4824/30/3 = Rs 53.6, with which one cant live a healthy and hygienic life.

from:  Gokulakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 17:10 IST

Truly something is wrong with this estimate and person(s) who are making
this kind of estimates. It is sad that these people are not knowing the
reality of the poor in the nation.

from:  PS Nathan
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 16:57 IST

I don't understand, as a common man, what simple mathematics/economics/statistics can explain the logic behind the lowering of the poverty line from 32 to 28 Rs per day, that even in the era of rocketed inflation. If you have an explanation for that, regardless of how complex it is, I could even bring it to 5 rupees or even less. This way we could bring 95% or even more of the population up the poverty threshold,

from:  Ameen SS
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 16:54 IST

Mr. Manmohan should ask Montek to live for a day in Delhi for Rs. 28 and prove that poverty has been allievated. He and his friends in planning commission should be immediately thrown away as they are enjoying the luxuries from common men tax money and making mockery of Indian people. By any scale, even Rs. 500 will not be sufficient for a family to survive in any city.

from:  Jaffar
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 16:43 IST

Simply not acceptable. Period.

from:  Sushil Kumar
Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 16:24 IST

The government is trying to act like an ostrich. Keeping its head inside a hole would neither save it or the people below poverty line. Instead of acting like the poverty in india is decreasing UPA government should put real effort to deal with the problem. The false figures won't help us in anyway.

Posted on: Mar 21, 2012 at 15:51 IST
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